Category Archives: Random

Citizen Steve 1987

Citizen Steve

Citizen Steve 1987

For his 40th birthday Steven Spielberg‘s friends made him this short film based on Citizen Kane (1941) about his life and career up to that point.

With a March of Time segment voiced by Dan Ackroyd, John Candy plays the reporter who is assigned the task of uncovering the famed director.

Keep a look out for previous Spielberg collaborators such as Dennis Weaver (Duel), Allen Daviau (E.T.), Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (1941) and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (longtime producers).

You wonder how this stuff ends up online but I’m glad it did.

> Steven Spielberg at the IMDb
> More on Citizen Kane at Wikipedia

Paul Newman's Philanthropy

Paul Newman’s Philanthropy

Paul Newman was born on this day in 1925 and although he passed away in 2008, his remarkable philanthropic activities live on.

Think for just a minute about a major Hollywood actor who starts up a successful food business and then gives all the profits to a charitable foundation.

It is almost as unlikely as an actress inventing the technology later used for wi-fi.

But it actually happened.

To date, Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have donated more than $300 million to thousands of charities around the world.

This was in addition to being one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.

Paul Newman at the IMDb
> More on Paul Newman’s life at Wikipedia
Newman’s Own Foundation
> The Hole in the Wall Gang (also on Twitter and YouTube)

Jaws Vertigoed

Jaws Vertigoed

Indiewire have recently been running a mash-up contest in light of the recent story about The Artist using music from Vertigo.

If you missed the story, Kim Novak recently took out an ad in Variety to complain about the use of some of Bernard Herrmann’s score in Michel Hazanavicius’s tribute to the silent era.

Press Play then decided to see how it sounded against other film sequences, so they staged a contest called ‘Vertigoed’ with the following rules:

  1. Take the same Herrmann cue — “Scene D’Amour,” used in this memorable moment from Vertigo — and match it with a clip from any film. (You can nick the three-minute section from one of Kevin’s mash-ups if it makes things easier.) Is there any clip, no matter how silly, nonsensical, goofy or foul, that the score to Vertigo can’t ennoble? Let’s find out!
  2. Although you can use any portion of “Scene D’Amour” as your soundtrack, the movie clip that you pair it with cannot have ANY edits; it must play straight through over the Herrmann music. This is an exercise in juxtaposition and timing. If you slice and dice the film clip to make things “work,” it’s cheating. MONTAGES WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.
  3. Upload the result to YouTube, Vimeo, blipTV or wherever, email the link to [email protected] along with your name, and we’ll add your mash-up to this Index page.

Given that they have recently been running an excellent video series on Steven Spielberg, the sequence that immediately popped into my head was this one from Jaws (1975).

Mainly because of the use of the “zoom dolly” shot that Hitchcock made famous on Vertigo but also because there are some interesting connections between the two directors.

Both made significant films at Universal and Hitchcock was also a major shareholder of the studio as Jaws smashed box office records.

Its financial success would have made both men a lot of money, but the two were destined never to meet.

In fact, Spielberg was twice escorted off the set of Hitchcock movies on the Universal lot.

According to a book by John Baxter, as a young man he was thrown off the set of Torn Curtain (1966) and years later an assistant director asked him to leave whilst Hitch was shooting Family Plot (1976):

There’s probably a reason that ‘Scene d’Amour’ has been used so often as a temp track (i.e. a piece of temporary music used before the composer settles on a final score), which is that it lends a haunting beauty to almost any image.

With that in mind here is the scene from Jaws set to Herrmann’s music:

The music accentuates the tragedy of a mother losing her son, whilst with Williams’ score there was a sense of impending dread and brilliantly orchestrated horror.

Note also how the scene in the original version is free of music until the shark appears.

Take a look at the entries over on the Press Play site, which sets the track to various films including Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom MenaceRockyThe Great Dictator and They Live.

> Buy Scene D’Amour by Bernard Herrmann from the Vertigo soundtrack
> Press Play Vertigoed Contest and their Video Series on Spielberg
Buy Jaws on DVD
Buy Vertigo on DVD

Vue in 2011 and 1976

Vue West End …Then and Now

What was showing at cinemas in London’s West End back in 1976?

This year has already seen a record-breaking 27 sequels and a depressing number of remakes.

Last month I took a picture of the Vue West End in Leicester Square just to remind myself that we really did live in a time when the three main attractions at one of the capital’s most prestigious cinemas were The Inbetweeners Movie, The Smurfs and Final Destination 5.

I came across a photo on Flickr of the same cinema in 1976 which revealed that at one point it was showing The Outlaw Josey Wales, All The President’s Men, Barry Lyndon and St. Ives.

The first three are classics and …St Ives?

Well, three out of four isn’t bad.

[Photo: Flickr user Affendaddy]

> More on Vue at Wikipedia
> Flickr group of Cinema Architecture

Space Shuttle Endeavor Final Launch

NASA Endeavor Split Screen Mashup

A NASA video of Space Shuttle Endeavor‘s last launch has been re-cut so we can see all four camera angles simultaneously.

The original video was shot on multiple cameras fixed to the solid rocket boosters, but a Vimeo user (Northern Lights) has re-arranged the footage so we can see it side-by-side.

Set to the music of Ulf Lohmann from the Because Before album, the end result is pretty spectacular.

(For the full effect, be sure expand the video to full screen)

> Original NASA video of Endeavor
> Northern Lights on Vimeo
> Space Shuttle Endeavor at Wikipedia